Take a “Love Shot” With EXO’s Repackaged Album
Even after years of various concepts, EXO still manages to pull off the unexpected with their latest release. “Love Shot,” released December 13, is the title track for the group’s repackage of their fifth album Don’t Mess Up My Tempo.
EXO has flirted with gambling and violence before, particularly during the “Monster” and “Lotto” era, but it’s undeniable that “Love Shot” feels different. Back then, the boys were smug and cocky with fiery rebellious personalities, but “Love Shot” seems to be the consequence of a toxic relationship further stressed by these various crimes in the video.
The alcohol, guns, classic cars, and ornate architecture are indicators of hefty wealth—the boys are the top of their craft in the town. But the lyrics are darkly intense, with them turning to the burning sensation of this single love shot in order to make them feel anything again. At times, it’s even overwhelming, with Kai singing “I can’t breathe, it’s like I’ll split in half,” which is coincidentally how he makes us feel when he dances in his red suit.
These lyrics are interspersed with some of the most hard-hitting choreography the group has ever done. They’ve even sophisticated the floorwork we got a peek of in “Monster.” While the lyrics point to metaphorical alcohol to relieve their pain, it also seems as if they’re channeling that energy through their dancing as well.
That being said, “Love Shot” had a lot to live up to after the structurally defiant “Tempo.” The beat flirts with dubstep and reggae, but the alternative R&B song attempts to blend these elements together to make it a quintessentially EXO mix. Arguably, the repetitive chorus is meant to complement the ardent verses, but the “na na na”s stretch on a bit longer than they should. It could be that “Tempo” was just so out of the box that “Love Shot” feels not as exciting, but it lyrically outshines the former and complements the rest of the repackage’s theme.
Along with “Love Shot,” EXO gifted fans with two more tracks: “Trauma” and “Wait.” “Trauma” lets go of the pain felt in “Love Shot.” The funky pop track employs 8D technology that lets you hear the “la la la” melody from eight different directions, so it’s best to listen to track on full blast with headphones. The boys sing of overcoming their traumatic experiences and leaving them behind.
With that mind, the transition into “Wait” only makes sense. This acoustic track is an homage to EXO’s usually scheduled winter releases; it’s the Boyz II Men/*NSYNC-style harmonization of our dreams. Every single member had the opportunity to shine vocally. The ballads on Don’t Mess Up My Tempo were a bit theatrical, so it’s nice to hear EXO strip down to their vocals and a guitar every once in a while. Although the lyrics sing of waiting for love during a cold winter, the sweet lyrics and melody are bound to make your insides warm and will satisfy any fan of EXO’s Christmas albums.
The transition from “Wait” to “Sign” on the album is slightly jarring, but EXO did a good job of not oversaturating DMUMT with these three tracks. Hopefully they won’t disappear for a whole year and then slap us with all of these releases again.